My mother likes to sew. My dad died of a massive heart attack on January 27, 1995. That year, my mother decided to make everyone in the family ornaments for Christmas using Dad’s clothes so that the family would have something to remember him by. She took his old clothes and cut then up into shapes and pieced parts of his clothing together. His jeans, his shirts, anything she could find.
Some ornaments were round and some looked like stockings. For my Grandma Benson, (my dad’s mother), she made a pillow. Dad was a smoker, so you could see the places where he had cigarette burns on his pockets and you could smell the smell of cigarettes on his clothes. You could picture him wearing the clothes. When I saw the ornaments, I could see my dad’s blonde hair, his blue eyes, his glasses, etc. It was like I could look at the ornament and say, “There’s Daddy.”
Christmas Eve came, and we went to Grandma’s house. After we ate diner, before we opened our presents, my mother gave a little speech and passed out the ornaments. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but I know she was trying to acknowledge the fact that Dad was with us last year and this year he’s not. That side of the family has never been big on talking about their emotions. Mom was afraid people would get mad because she was talking about something sad on a day that was supposed to be a happy celebration. Instead, the family surprised her. They appreciated it. What a relief! Everyone loved the ornaments! My uncle Harold said, “Now, whenever we look at the ornament, we’ll look at it and say, That’s Rex."
Making the ornaments was my mother’s way of making sure my father would not be forgotten. Every time I look at the ornaments on the Christmas tree I spot those two special ornaments and in my heart I think, “Merry Christmas Dad. I miss you and I love you.” How I wish he could be here today to see me as a writer. He would be proud. Merry Christmas everybody!